The 20 Worst Songs of 2010, #14: Liz Phair, “Bollywood”


F2K10 is a countdown of the 20 worst songs of 2010. Track our progress here.

If the New York Times called Liz Phair’s 2003 pop album “an embarrassing form of career suicide,” then “Bollywood” is her ghost coming back to toilet paper her grave. After all of indie-rock’s circa 2003 hand-wringing and moralizing about Phair working with icky Capitol Records and Avril Lavigne’s evil producers, we should probably draft Phair a formal apology. We will gladly take her glossiest, Mileyest, most cynical bubblegum over whatever the fuck this is. Wait, I think she’s rapping. Yes, yes, she’s definitely rapping. Oh no. And this after we thought the national nightmare of Fannypack was over.

“Bollywood” is from Funstyle, Phair’s first album in seven years to be free from major label ties. The downside of this liberating indie feat is that occasionally the people on the other end of those ties tell you things like, “This is a bad idea” and “This is a really, really fucking bad idea,” and “Oh my fuck no what why stop ack.” Long story short, Phair had a really nasty, craptactular time with her record label and a lot of the songs on this album are totally awesome rants about what a shithole Capitol is and why Andy Slater is a dickbag. And yet many of these rants would have maybe worked better as “rambling blog post” than “ironic, self-recorded, bhangra-infused rap song.” Her rapping is sub-Madonna at best and she fills the entire thing with funny voices and sound effects like a 12-year-old just discovering Garage Band plug-ins.

Look, I know it’s all supposed to be funny and goofy and weird and very self-consciously WTF. And I’m very psyched to see anyone turn what seemed like a very awful major label deal into art. But wouldn’t be making a great album on your own dime be better revenge? I’m sure Capitol is really bummed they didn’t get to put this one out.